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How to Grow an Organic Lawn: An Interview with Tina Montone of The Number 1 Lawn Guy

By Tina Montone

Tell us a little bit about your company and its foundation.

The #1 Lawn Guy began in 2005 in response to an opportunity to work with a corporate client and a few high end residential properties in lawn maintenance. Kevin Montone (the founder) had always enjoyed lawn care, and jumped on the chance to start his own business. One philosophy of the business was to remain safe to the environment and our clients which is why we have separated ourselves from toxic pesticides.

What are the most popular gardening practices that are health hazards and can be harmful to the environment?

The use of toxic chemicals and synthetic pesticides are strong potential hazards to both the health of children and pets as well as the environment. Children have smaller bodies that process the chemicals they are exposed to. And typically they are more exposed than adults because they are playing on lawns, and laying on grass.

The dermo (skin) exposure is a huge contributor, as well as inhaling. Pets are much closer to the ground than we are. This puts them at a much greater risk for health issues, if their noses are in synthetically treated properties. These toxics are harmful to the environment because they throw off the balance of soil health and therefore weakening grass and creating additional problems.

What makes a lawn organic?

An organic lawn is problem solving turf soil issues through its natural needs. Organic fertilizer consists of ingredients that are found in the soil. It also consists of nutrients the soil needs to be healthy and grow strong grass roots. Other practices include aeration, over seeding, correct water practices and correct mowing practices.

What makes an organic lawn different from the traditional lawn?

An organically treated lawn is completely safe for children and pets to play on. An organic lawn also has a strong root system, and healthy soil. I am not sure what "traditional" is considered in this question. If organically treated is compared to synthetically treated: synthetically treated as potential health risks (otherwise you wouldn't see a sign that says "Stay off lawn for 24 hours").

The root system is weaker and more shallow. The soil is not healthy, which can contribute to additional problems down the road, such as pests (grubs, etc). The biggest difference is that once a lawn has been fertilized organically and is at optimal health, constant fertilizing is not necessary. Synthetic fertilizers are like a drug to the lawn. Once a lawn is on it, it depends on those chemicals.

How is an organic lawn set up? What are the basic steps carried out in the process?

The organic fertilizing practice has 6 rounds throughout the season. The first step provides nutrients to the soil, not to the grass. The grass wants to naturally grow in the spring, so organics provides health within the soil to give it the best chance possible to grow. Depending on the weather patterns will dictate the nutrients needed throughout the season. Aeration and grub control may play a part in the process, depending on the lawn's needs.

What is the best advice you give homeowners on how to maintain their organic lawns?

Be patient and think about how you would maintain your own health. Soil is a living and breathing system just like our bodies. If it needs to eat, feed it the appropriate nutrients for its particular growth cycle. If its thirsty (dry) water it. If it needs oxygen, it is compacted or you see ponding ? then aerate and over seed it.

What's the best way for people to get in contact with you and your company?

Our website is www.thenumber1lawnguy.com. Our phone number is 610-762-6127 or you can email tina@thenumber1lawnguy.com.

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About The Author

Tina Montone works as the Marketing Manager at The Number 1 Lawn Guy.

Phone: 610-762-6127

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